The first African Americans arrived in the United States in 1619–as slaves to work southern cotton and tobacco fields. This year, 2019, marks 400 years since we came. Since arriving, we have endured 250 years of chattel slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow segregation, and a variety of other tactics to keep African Americans from making progress–tactics have included covenants and redlining to prevent owning homes and financing businesses, school and job discrimination, as well as incarceration. Yet one Harvard economist says today’s U.S. $6 Trillion economy is directly due to the free slave labor. These insidious actions, often with the approval of the Church, deprived African American families of the resources to make economic and social progress. Today any effort to repair the damage of these 400 years of injustice must include repairing the African American family, the place God ordained to teach values, to shape lives, and to nurture faith. 1 Corinthians chapters 7 and Ephesians chapter 5 stress the role of family and the home. If the entire Church ever wakes up to foster healthy families, perhaps we can begin repairing the damage caused by 400 years of injustice.
Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More